My name is Simran Goyal. I’m nineteen years old. I used to care about what people thought about me and my appearance. But now? I’m a nineteen year old boss lady working to reconcile and love herself even more every day, by simply not caring about what the world has to say about her.
The world is not a pretty place. Especially when it comes to loving your body, changing your body and being happy with yourself.
I like to think of myself as a strong young woman. I’ve been through experiences most nineteen year olds wouldn’t even dream of considering. Those experiences have obviously hardened me up. I like to think of myself as that strong, independent young woman who is fearless and relentless.
And I am
But I’m also human. Under the strong exterior and fortified interior I’m building for myself, there’s still a child, needing and seeking guidance and protection from the world. I don’t have all of the answers. I’m not a genius and I’m not unbreakable.
From the end of 2016, and throughout 2017, I went on an ugly journey. A journey driven by shallowness and letting the world get the better of me. I thought I could take on my own issues with my appearance and make them right. What I never anticipated was that it would spiral out of control and I would lose sight of who I was for a few months.
We all say we never meant to fall down the rabbit hole of under eating, over exercising and thinking we were doing our body good.
But we’re all sorely mistaken.
Let’s rewind to the start of 2016.
“Oh she’d be a large wouldn’t she”
“55 kilos? Kitni moti hai”
These comments hurt a lot. And I think it’s testament to how active my mind was back then, that I didn’t give them thought after having a solitary cry or tantrum about it. To hear such comments from family did hurt, because instead of focusing on my achievements or the fact that another kid was going to university and pursuing her dreams, people were focusing on my HSC weight. Yes, I wasn’t overweight. I was soft in places and my sweet tooth was rampant. I ate emotionally and even though I was active as hell, emotional eating is never a good thing.
Let’s fast forward to the end of 2016.
News of upcoming weddings and formal events encouraged me to shape up so I could properly enjoy all the new dresses hanging in my wardrobe. My midriff would be on show in indian garments, so having a bit more tone would be nice. I also wanted to feel stronger, better and improve my academic performance.
So exercising became my thing.
And I loved it. I felt great after doing a session of cardio. I found myself reaching for chana (roasted Bengal gram) or walnuts and sultanas to snack on with my tea, instead of biscuits and cookies. I was eating great meals throughout the day at proper times and feeling so good.
Ideally, it should have stopped there.
What happened, instead, was a tumultuous journey of too much exercise as a coping mechanism for the shitstorm 2017 was, and not enough calories because I thought I wasn’t working hard enough to become someone I thought I wanted to be.
So now what?
Let’s come to the present.
I’m in constant consults with my doctor. My weight is increasing and every day is a huge improvement.
You might ask what I’ve done to change myself, and how this changed happened.
I think, after another bought of anxiety because I was gaining weight and in my head, thoughts of weight gain were a terrifying thing; I told myself to get my shit together. Eat for health, not for someone else. Screw what people say.
There are some innate truths that I know. Firstly, I’ve been brought up on an Indian-vegetarian diet. Indian food is simple, protein and vegetable based and really fucking delicious. And of course, there’s the “unhealthy aspect” of our diet, which is street food and fried deliciousness. All that goodness is perfect to enjoy on lazy Sunday mornings or as a celebratory meal for a hard earned success.
But day to day, the Indian diet is structured around whole foods, good fats, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, excellent sources of plant based proteins.
And I love my food. I love my cooking and I love that I have such an incredible mum who loves to cook for her kids. Now, I think of everything I eat as a blessing. I savour every meal and I truly enjoy what I eat. Even if it’s just an almond or a walnut or even mum’s homemade savoury snacks, I’ll savour every bite.
The second innate truth is that I want to live for now. I don’t want to live for the future because I don’t know what’s going to happen. And honestly, spontaneously going out with friends and sharing waffles is the best thing you can do. I want to create memories and experiences and have a body that actually carries me through all of those things.
The third truth is that I was made for greater things. Instead of looking at what people might think about my body, I want people to know me by Simran Goyal, a boss lady. I want people to know me for my sense of style, the things I love in life and the dreams, goals and aspirations I’m constantly making sure come true.
And what have I done to achieve that?
Firstly, I stopped following fitspo Instagram accounts. I don’t want to see your shredded abs when I can instead look at fashion, travel and new recipe inspirations.
I’ve taken up meditation to quell an overactive mind, and I make sure I’m busy as hell.
Finally, I’ve thrown myself into making my partnership successful as hell. I haven’t felt so passionate about anything like the Tailor Trailer before. The Tailor Trailer is my pride and joy. I learnt to code for it. I’m taking photography classes for it. I’m making sure I can make this partnership with my sister the most successful and exciting thing we’ve ever done together.
Here’s a big fuck you to the diet industry, society’s fixation on being skinny, and shallowness.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE IF YOU ARE UNHEALTHY OR UNHAPPY WITH YOUR WEIGHT. DO NOT TRY AND DO ANYTHING YOURSELF. YOUR DOCTORS KNOW WHAT’S UP AND THEY WILL GUIDE YOU CORRECTLY.